“Bullion with the Js (Joe and Jake)””
Bullion Peak (peak 6479’, p79’)
Crown Point (6480+’, p400)
via Crystal resort/FST 1156/Bullion Basin
Jan 26, 2013
Carla Schauble, Joe DiRusso, Franklin Bradshaw and Jake
Weather: Very diffuse sun, clouds, snow, temps upper 20s
The weather/condition forecast for this weekend were not promising. The inversion turned back to overall cold, then a wet Friday and back to cold with light powder covering. Yikes! Basically we were expecting dust on crust.
We decided to drive to Crystal and catch up with Jim and Joe for a little BC skiing. Carla knew Joe and we knew to look for their old Winnie. Driving into Lot B a long line of pricey ginormous RVs. Nestled between these behemoths a little old Winnebago. The door opened and we were invited in. No rush, just a relaxing morning. We got the full tour, wood burning stove, hot tub in the woods behind… All the luxuries and more needed for skiing.
Crystal, the start of a great day
The tour would be four of us, Joe, Carla, Jake and myself. It was nearly 10:00 when we started skinning up the road from the upper parking lot C. Our goal today was to explore the Bullion Basin general area. The route up was well trod. Up the road, a left, stand aside for a snow cat, at an opening and junction leave the road and head up the single track into the woods. The route wound up hard pack. All as expected. Even higher we expect some nasty skiing, and hoped for better. The trail leveled and spit us out of the woods into the flat deep powder at the lower end of Bullion Basin. Two young up-hillers went left (east) toward East Peak. We headed south following a group of four up through the trees east of the open Bullion Basin.
Joe showing off his shiny new pack
On the ridge heading for Peak 6479 summit (Bullion Peak)
We topped out the ridge at 11:30a, then followed it SW arriving on Peak 6479’ (Bullion Peak) with the group of four that broke trail (11:50a). By 11:58 all eight of us were happy with our first set of runs north down Bullion Basin.
Jake didn’t wait for Joe Then goes to check in with the other group
Bullion Basin –Happily surprised at the snow depth
Now what? We left the open bowl/terrain trap right and into the trees, dropping to the flat (c5760’). The conditions were decent in the Basin. 4-8” with occasional hitting the hard crust underneath. Maybe some other aspect? We started heading east toward East Peak. A new uptrack looked promising. We headed over to intersect it and caught up to a solo snowshoer working up the now windswept hard crust. Discussion ensued and we decided to bail back south to Bullion Peak. Landing the ridge at the same spot as previous ascent we again found ourselves pausing to take a venture down the SE aspect from c6300’. I went down about 350’. Surface similar to the last run, deeper when near the trees and less in the round overs. I stopped when it appeared below was all windswept. Up I skinned heading higher up the ridge to catch up to the group. We all took another shot down the SE face to the same stopping point (c5968’, 1:20p). Run 3 was another good one.
Heading up from lap #3 Jake doing something weird with his tongue in the sunshine
Happy skiers Curious and happy pup
Back up we went to the ridge happy for the 400’ of turns. Luckily, the dust was thick enough to mostly not have to feel the crust. On the ridge (1:50p) we headed up and soon found ourselves on the summit of Bullion (2:05p). This time a couple guys were taking a break.
Carla and Jake
More discussion… Crown Points east face to our south looked promising. We calculated a route and times. Looked like all would work out. We stripped and skied down the wind swept ridge to the low point. A group heading north up the ridge gave a little report. A shear layer at 11”… More discussion and soon we were atop Crown Point. Another group of four had passed us in our previous discussion and were on the summit taking a break. We discussed options and a decent. The east face looked nice, had a traverse coming from the north saddle and ski turns on the south side. I tried a sample cut on the steeper section with no results and waited to the side at a tree clump. Carla gave a go and still no movement. Now we took turns throwing in many happy turns and stopping on the far right near an up track. It was a riot watching Jake bounding down the slope. A weave of Joe turning and Jake straight running. One more small pitch for photo ops, then we headed south up to the SE ridge of Crown Point (3:10p).
Jake and Joe’s photo session east face of Crown Point
The ridge up higher was wind swept. Ski crampons were handy. Possible without, but a good time to use them.
Jake leading the way up to the south ridge of Crown Point. Crown Point south ridge
A little cornice action. Okay, big cornice action
Top of Crown Point, now what? It was 3:30p, and dark would be just after 5:00. Time to head out. The other group, same group we summited 6479 with in the morning, chose to descend via Pickhandle Basin. Earlier report wasn’t stellar of that route and we looked forward to another run down Bullion Basin, so… we found our way back north to Peak 6479 (Bullion Peak).
Jake getting glove on Crown Peak From Crown Point looking north to Bullion Peak
Each peak seemed to have visitors. This was our fifth summit and two were there getting ready to descend. We dropped Bullion Basin. Previous run was on the far left, this run we did the far right. No tracks, flat light and fogged goggles made for an interesting run. Wind deposit made for velvety turns. Nice to have a nice set of turns on the last longer pitch. In the trees below the open basin the snow was well over a foot deep. Sweet… We waited as the couple came from the other route, then across the flat, darn barely uphill…
The last uphill in the Bullion basin flat –well almost last if we’d not taken a wrong turn
The track out was slick and fast. A few places to through in some turns avoiding switchbacks. We found the trail and then the open area with the roads. Heading down we took a right one road to early and started down Gold Hills road. Carla informed us before too long. A short skate up and we found an old cut that downward traversed us back to the TH and car.
Gliding the road out
Another successful day in the BC. We’d expected very scratchy conditions and were pleasantly surprised with what Mother Nature gave us. Good story telling and ski après back at the Winnie. Skiing was nice, but sounded like the group was more interested in resort skiing Sunday. Carla and I decided we’d have to leave early to get back home in time for another location tomorrow. The Naches provided a good break for a burger. Heading back to town we TM’d and emailed others to try to figure out conditions. Of the six people we knew that went to Stevens area we heard back from none. We’d have to shot from the hip. By the time we arrived in Seattle we’d tossed a prelim plan to check out the Jove Route John Morrow wrote a trip report on a week earlier. What would Smith Brook area provide? We’d find out soon enough. Like 5 hours of sleep later…
Thanks Joe for the fun trip. Was good catching up for real turns.
Stats: 7.8m, 6h49min, +/-4110, 5 pitches/laps
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